Weather Construction

The recent devastating tornado outbreak in Alabama raises concerns about building codes.  The fact is, several of the Alabama tornadoes were EF4 (166-200 mph) or EF5 (200 mph or more( and it is simply too cost-prohibitive to design regular homes to be able to withstand such forces.

However, 98 per cent of all tornadoes produce damage in the EF0 (65-85 mph), EF1 (86-110 mph), EF2 (111-135 mph) or EF3 (136-165 mph) range.  There are things builders can do to make houses reasonably safe from these winds, particularly EF2 and below, which is the most common.  Houses that explode in a tornado do so not because of pressure, but because the roof is blown off and the walls fall down.  In a well-built home, joists are attached to the walls with steel joist hangers instead of a single nail, and the walls are attached to the foundation with heavy anchor bolts.

Such homes will sustain damage in a tornado, but should avoid total destruction in all but the worst of storms

2 Responses

  1. That would be the first thing I checked when I bought a house … unless I got a sweetheart deal on one without. Just joking about the last point but isn’t it always the case that cost factors in and penny pinching can get the best of us?

  2. There is a lot to be said about you get what you pay for. Plus, the extra cost in adding wall/roof support is generally just a few hundred dollars during construction.

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